Exodus 3:2-4 (New International Reader’s Version)
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him from inside a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire. But it didn’t burn up. So Moses thought, “I’ll go over and see this strange sight. Why doesn’t the bush burn up?” The Lord saw that Moses had gone over to look. So God spoke to him from inside the bush. He called out, “Moses! Moses!” Moses said, “Here I am.”
The first time I heard this story — many years ago now — I wanted to have an experience like Moses: to see something as amazing as a bush that was on fire but that wasn’t consumed, and then to actually hear God’s voice. Wow! That would have been so overwhelming!
But… most folks I know (me included) have never had an experience like that. Usually God speaks to us in much more subtle ways.
Through the wise words of a friend. Through a book you’re reading. Through a moment of inspiration during a time of prayer. Through scripture you’ve read before, but that suddenly seems to apply so perfectly to your current situation. Through a challenge from a trusted mentor. Through a song you hear on the radio.
There are as many different ways as there are people who are listening for God’s guidance.
1 Kings, chapter 19 records a time when God came to talk with a prophet, Elijah, who was going through a very rough time. Here’s what happens in verses 11-12: “As the Lord approached, a very powerful wind tore the mountains apart. It broke up the rocks. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire came. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was only a gentle whisper.”
God didn’t speak to Elijah through a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a fire. God came to Elijah, not in a grand way, but in a “gentle whisper.”
God speaks to each of us in so many different ways. Some ways are big and dramatic. Others are simple and quiet. But, for all of us, this is God’s promise: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).
We just have to pay attention… and listen…
How have you experienced God’s guidance in your life? How might God be leading you right now?